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On February 27, 1993, at approximately 1840 central standard time, a Cessna 340A airplane, N88KH, was destroyed upon impact with terrain following a loss of control while on approach to the Kerrville Municipal Airport, near Center Point, Texas. The private pilot and his wife were fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal cross country flight.
An IFR flight plan was filed for the flight from the West Houston Lakeside Airport (IWS) to the Kerrville Municipal Airport (ERV). After holding for approximately 26 minutes at the Shein Outer Marker at 5,000 feet, Houston Center cleared the airplane for the approach to the Kerrville Airport at 1835 CST. Another airplane executing a practice instrument approach ahead of N88KH, reported the base of the overcast at two thousand five hundred feet MSL (900 feet AGL). Witnesses at the site reported a light mist and low light conditions due to fog and dusk. Official sunset was reported at 1839.
Communications between the airplane and the Unicom was never established while the pilot circled the airport for landing. Witnesses observed the airplane flying at low altitude, on a close left downwind for runway 30. Witnesses added that on the turn from base to final, a very steep angle of bank was established as the engine power was heard being increased.
The airplane was observed impacting the ground inverted in a nose low attitude. A post impact fire consumed the airplane.
According to local residents of the area, the pilot was familiar with the approaches to the airport since he flew from his home in Houston to the Kerrville Airport about every other weekend. The couple owned a ranch in nearby Medina, Texas.
The airplane was topped off with 102 gallons of 100LL fuel prior to departure from the West Houston Airport that afternoon. The airplane was maintained and hangared at the West Houston Airport. Several maintenance personnel were telephonically interviewed regarding the airworthiness and maintenance of the airplane. A complete review of the pertinent airframe and engine records did not revealed any discrepancies. Estimates indicate that the airplane was within the prescribed limits for weight and center of gravity, both at takeoff and at the time of the accident.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane impacted on approximately two degree upsloping terrain amidst oak trees on a measured heading of 320 degrees. The wreckage was 200 yards from the front porch of a rural residence, and approximately one mile from the approach end of runway 30 at the Kerrville Airport.
All components installed on the right side of the airplane were found on the left side of the wreckage. Likewise all components installed on the left side of the airplane were located on the right side of the wreckage. Three craters were dug by the airplane on initial impact. A 3 feet wide, by 18 inches deep crater was found on the right side. All three propeller blades and hub assembly from the left engine were found imbedded in this crater. A 2.5 feet wide, by 12 inches deep crater was found on the left side of the wreckage, with propeller components from the right engine found at this location. A smaller center crater contained windshield glass and the magnetic compass.
The air intake scoops for both engines separated from the bottom of their respective engines on impact and sustained minimal damage. Flight control continuity could not be established due to the fire damage.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy and toxicological tests were ordered and performed on the pilot. The autopsy was performed by Roberto J. Bayardo, M.D, Chief Medical Examiner, at the Travis County Morgue in Austin, Texas. Toxicology findings were negative.
A post impact fire consumed the airplane. According to persons that responded to the accident site, a very intense fire erupted within seconds after the impact. The intensity of the fire prevented the attempted rescue of the two occupants of the airplane.
TEST AND RESEARCH
Both engines were removed, preserved, and transported to a suitable facility for a detailed examination and analysis. A complete engine teardown examination was undertaken to include all engine components and accessories to establish functionality and serviceability. No anomalies were found. A detailed copy of the examination is enclosed.
The wreckage was released to the owner's representative on March 1, 1993, following the completion of the field investigation.